2.5 After reading almost all of Tolkien’s books, and his biography by Humphrey Carpenter, I rented this with no expectations and it proved to be exactly the romanticized, weak and muddled coming of age story that couldn’t measure to the genius of JRRT. And Hoult just didn’t fit for me, although he has good acting skills. The only good thing is that it made me yearn rereading all Tolkien mythology.
Handsomely mounted production tells the story of a young J.R.R. Tolkien and the early life events that inspired his love of language and his eventual creation of 'The Lord of the Rings' series. Unfortunately the film fails to get under the skin of its characters with most becoming awkward symbols especially in its WWI battlefield moments. Hoult equips himself fairly well and Lily Collins is very good here. A miss.
G'damit! It seems like there's so much to work with, but it feels directionless and without vision. It focus on his friendships, but its as though we are being told a story from someone who heard it from someone else, whose uncle knew one of the lads in the group. Distant
A bromance in the trenches of WWI spawned Middle Earth according to this film's conceit. Since this is a maudlin Hollywood rendering you will wish Terry Gilliam did it instead (especially the magical realism sections!) However, the main actors are pretty good and the Derek Jacobi scenes make you realize how weird a guy Tolkien was in concocting his own languages. I just wish the film was just as much of an oddball.
Nicholas Hoult is a fine actor but as with Rebel in the Rye (2017), his talents are not served here by a heavy handed, formulaic script. Derek Jacobi is also excellent in his few scenes with Hoult. The cinematography, editing, and sound design are all more than competently realized but the film rarely rises above the mediocre and that's a real shame because this movie could have been much better.